The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is leaving, but the troops are staying
KABUL — Gen. John. F. Campbell, commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, arrived here 18 months ago expecting to be the U.S. military leader who would bring the war to a close. On Saturday, as he prepares to hand-off command to his successor, Campbell was instead promising that coalition forces “are here to stay.”
“Not only the U.S., but the whole international community, are now starting to talk about long-term commitment,” Campbell told reporters at what was billed as his last news conference before Army Lt. Gen. John W. “Mick” Nicholson Jr. takes over command of coalition forces in early March. “It ought to give confidence to the Afghan people and also send a message to the Taliban too: What they thought in 2015 — everyone is leaving, and they could wait us out, that is no longer the case here.”
Campbell’s remarks reflect just how much the Obama administration’s posture toward Afghanistan has changed over the past two years.